Football Wagga president Erwin Budde named it the closest Pascoe Cup competition in living memory, and the top two teams are under no illusions about the decider, the grand final.
When asked about their chances of winning, Junee veteran player Jason Mutimer eluded to the strength of the competition this season.
“We’ve got a good chance but you’ve got to play well in this competition otherwise you get beaten,” Mutimer said.
“Henwood Park’s a good, young side and we’ve got to be on our game otherwise we won’t be taking home a premiership,” he said.
The significantly older side, Junee, is equipped with Mutimer, who has played 400 games, his brother Scott who isn’t far behind him, Ray Jones, and Lachlan and Martin Bushby who plan on retiring afterwards.
The team watched on as Henwood Park led a fast paced semi final against Wagga United on Sunday.
“They were impressive last week,” Mutimer said.
Junee’s prepared for anything.
You’ve got to play well in this competition otherwise you get beaten.- Jason Mutimer
“You’ve got to be prepared for extra time and that penalty shoot out, we’ll do that at training through the week and hopefully our fitness should be there this time of year if we go to extra time,” Mutimer said.
Henwood Park have had an inconsistent end to season, with huge 5-2 wins and 5-1 losses a product of the team’s youth.
“Junee played us back into form a few weeks ago and I thought that was the game of the year but this one will top that,” coach Kyle Doswell said.
Henwood Park lost 2-0, but a couple of slight changes could make all the difference this time around.
“Last time we shut them down for at least an hour, it was a good strike by Marty [Bushby] for their first goal.
“Lachie and Marty always step up against us, they’re old Henwood Park guys, so we’ll look to be a bit tighter on them.”
With a young side, getting in the zone can be half the battle.
“At training they looked really switched on, really determined and really excited,” Doswell said.
The squad has improved significantly since last season where they were knocked out at the elimination semi final.
“Not too many changes to our team and we’ve just gone from where we finished last year in leaps and bounds to the grand final this year.”
Lead goal scorer and injured player Jake Ploenges could be a potent inclusion.
“He trained well on Tuesday, he’s feeling pretty good, if he pulls up right we’ll start him,” Doswell said.
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